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Hackers target financial institutions

December 1st, 2006

Attacks on businesses, particularly financial institutions, show no sign of abating despite concerted efforts to reduce them, according to new report from Kaspersky. The report found that, against expectations, attacks on such establishments in the first half of 2006 increased by 17 per cent on the last six months of 2005.

The report, Computers, Networks and Theft Part 2, provides an overview of criminal attacks on organisations, companies and institutions. These attacks can be divided into two categories: attacks on the organisation´s resources, and attacks which target the organisation´s clients.

The findings of the report are bad news for the many financial organisations that in the middle of 2005 began implementing procedures to protect their clients from data theft. Initially, the measures – that included the introduction of two-part authentication, among others – appeared to be having an effect, as attacks dropped in Q3-4 2005 by 13 per cent on the previous six-month period. Despite this, attacks in the first half of 2006 rose by 17 per cent.

While financial institutions are an obvious target for cyber-criminals, the report found other less obvious organisations attracting unwanted attention from hackers. For example, Kaspersky Lab analysts detected malicious programs targeting the clients of tour firms and transport companies.

Attacks on organisations themselves, rather than on their clients, are also now commonplace and include scams, blackmail and ransom demands. However, the report finds that the most common type of cyber-crime against organisations is the theft of confidential data.

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